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Rubino v. New Acton Mobile Indus., LLC

United States District Court, D. Maryland

August 27, 2014

MARK RUBINO, Plaintiff,
v.
NEW ACTON MOBILE INDUSTRIES, LLC, et al., Defendants

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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For Mark Rubino, Plaintiff: Cynthia Fleming Crawford, LeClairRyan, Washington, DC; Thomas Marshall Wolf, PRO HAC VICE, LeClair Ryan PC, Richmond, VA.

For New Acton Mobile Industries, LLC, also known as Acton Mobile Industries, Kurt Walton, Defendants: James E Edwards, Jr, Kathleen A McGinley, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Ober Kaler Grimes and Shriver PC, Baltimore, MD; Richard R Wier, Shannon L Brainard, PRO HAC VICE, Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman and Goggin, Wilmington, DE.

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MEMORANDUM OPINION

Richard D. Bennett, United States District Judge.

This is an employment discrimination case in which the Plaintiff Mark Rubino alleges that Defendant New Acton Mobile Industries, LLC violated his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12112, et seq., and that Defendant Kurt Walton assaulted and battered him. The Plaintiff also asserts a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress against both Defendants. Presently pending are the Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Counts I, II & V of Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint (ECF No. 27) and the Plaintiff's Motion in the Alternative to File an Amended Complaint (ECF No. 28). The parties' submissions have been reviewed and no hearing is deemed necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2014). For the reasons that follow, the Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Counts I, II & V of Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint (ECF No. 27) is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART, specifically it is GRANTED with respect to Counts I & II and DENIED with respect to Count V, and the Plaintiff's Motion in the Alternative to File an Amended Complaint (ECF No. 28) is DENIED.

BACKGROUND

This Court accepts as true the facts alleged in the Amended Complaint (ECF No. 25). See Aziz v. Alcolac, Inc., 658 F.3d 388, 390 (4th Cir. 2011). The Plaintiff Mark Rubino is a Virginia resident. Am. Compl. ¶ 3. Defendant New Acton Mobile Industries, LLC (" New Acton" ) is a Maryland limited liability company. Id. ¶ 4. Defendant Kurt Walton, a Maryland resident, is the Chief Executive Officer of New Acton. Id. ¶ 5. In October of 2011, New Acton hired Rubino as a Vice President of Sales. Id. ¶ 7. In approximately January or February of 2012, Rubino informed the New Acton Human Resources Director that he had a long history of depression. Id. ¶ 9. He stated that he had been hospitalized for depression, was taking medication, and was undergoing psychotherapy. Id. He explained to the Human Resources Director that " in order for him to perform

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his job, he needed to receive the reasonable accommodation of not being publicly or privately yelled at, humiliated or demeaned, or unnecessarily placed in stressful confrontational situations." Id. ¶ 10. After Rubino's meeting with the Human Resources Director, Defendant Walton's behavior became more abusive. Id. ¶ 11. To Rubino, it appeared that Walton went out of his way to involve Rubino in stressful, confrontational situations. Id.

In June of 2012, Rubino told Walton directly that he suffered from depression and asked Walton to " avoid abusive or demeaning communications." Id. ¶ 12. Walton responded that the workplace " needs more conflict," that he was " dedicated to creating more conflict on the team," and " I have demons in my head." Id. ¶ 13.

On July 31, 2012, the Plaintiff attended an off-site business meeting at a hotel. Id. ¶ 14. He exited a meeting room and walked near a stairwell that overlooked the ground floor, about twelve feet below. Id. At that moment, " Walton, who weighs over 300 pounds, charged Rubino in a violent fashion, stopping with his face inches from Rubino's face, repeatedly pointing and poking his finger at Rubino, making contact with Rubino's chest, and screaming loudly, 'Shake her fucking hand,' referring to New Acton Chief Financial Officer Ingrid West." Id. When Rubino asked Walton to calm down, stop screaming, and stop poking him, Walton blocked Rubino's path and backed him up against a wall. Id. ¶ 15. Rubino stated to Walton that he felt physically threatened and asked Walton to move away. Id. Walton screamed, " You're fired!" Id. Rubino then returned to the meeting room and shook Ms. West's hand. Id. ¶ 16. The next day, he received a letter confirming that he had been terminated. Id.

Rubino filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC issued him a right to sue letter on June 25, 2013, exhausting his administrative remedies. Id. ¶ 17.

The Plaintiff originally filed suit in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Maryland. The Defendants removed the case to this Court. See 28 U.S.C. § § 1331, 1367, 1441 & 1446. The Defendants moved to dismiss Counts I, II & III of the original Complaint as against New Acton for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The Defendants also moved to dismiss Counts I, II & II as against Walton on the basis that there is no individual liability under the ADA. Baird ex rel. Baird v. Rose, 192 F.3d 462, 472 (4th Cir. 1999). The Plaintiff then filed an Amended Complaint (ECF No. 25) with additional factual allegations, asserting ADA claims against New Acton for refusal to accommodate (Count I), disability discrimination (Count II), and retaliation (Count III), and a Maryland common law assault and battery claim against both Defendants (Count IV). The Plaintiff removed Walton as a Defendant as to the ADA claims in the Amended Complaint, and also added a Maryland common law claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress against both Defendants (Count V). Therefore, the Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Counts I, II & III of the original Complaint (ECF No. 15) is MOOT. The Defendants then filed the pending Motion to Dismiss Counts I, II & V of Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint (ECF No. 27). The Defendants do not move to dismiss Counts III & IV.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

I. Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim Upon Which Relief Can ...


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